If you’re travelling solo for the first time or even if you’ve done it before, travelling alone as a girl can be quite daunting. You may be worrying about personal safely, a confusing public transport system or not knowing a language… To put your mind at rest, I’ve compiled some top tips to set you off on your adventures feeling happy…
Remember girls – less is more! You’ll have your bag with you constantly and too much weight will make it uncomfortable and a nuisance to drag around. I would suggest taking one big bag rather than multiple little ones – this way you will have everything in one place and won’t have to worry about misplacing things. A small bag with valuables in, kept deep it in my backpack was a tip I adopted and it was easy to take out and hold on to, when my backpack was stored away on public transport.
Consider taking clothes that can be dressed up OR down – it will make it so much easier having adaptable items that you can wear for different events. You may want to invest in some reversible items, such as t-shirts or shorts that can be worn on different occasions and appear to be a completely different outfit. Another tip is to buy a scarf, I’ve linked a great option here. You can use a scarf to keep warm and cover up during travel, to be respectable in areas of worship, as well as complimenting outfits.
Take into consideration the climate and duration of your stay when packing, as this will alter for each trip you go on. On a trip to Sri Lanka for example, I lived in minimal clothes like shorts and flipflops around where I was staying but I made sure to have some loose trousers and a modest t-shirt when exploring the city and temples. Take the least amount of clothes you realistically can, clothes can be bulky and take up a lot of room in your bag. I’ve gotten used to only taking the necessities – and make sure to put things you need to access to at the top!
Although some of you may be used to having a fabulous daily beauty regime, this will not be practical while travelling. I would suggest taking some travel-sized skin care bottles, but only what you need. I take a small bottle of moisturiser, lip balm and makeup remover. People travelling alongside you won’t care if you wear no makeup – as this is what they will be doing too!
Take one or two makeup items for special events, such as mascara and concealer, to hide your long-haul undereye bags :). If you think your period will arrive while you’re travelling, take sanitary products with you. In some developing countries they may be difficult to find, or consider a menstrual cup – after all, you’re being more eco-friendly.
It’s important to have your wits about you 24/7, and stick to busy areas. Strongly advised travel items include: a personal alarm that is pocket-sized and easy to take with you everywhere, a door stop to put against your door from the inside so no one can get in, even if they have a key, a first aid kit, a few locks, a water bottle and a torch.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Travel Insurance – It is so important to be insured while travelling in case anything happens unexpectedly, such as; a cancelled flight, a broken phone, or even a serious case of food poisoning. To get a better understanding click this link to ensure you are prepared.
- Alcohol use – Alcohol slows your reactions and messes with your understanding of current situations, so make sure you are in a safe place with trustworthy people before you have a few drinks. Perhaps invest in an ‘anti-drink spiking stopper’ to put on top of your bottled drinks. It is always a better idea to drink out of a bottle rather than a glass, as this way it’s difficult for others to spike your drinks. I always made sure I travelled back to the place I was staying with a group of people I knew and trusted and I always used licensed taxi’s.
- Keeping others in the loop – Always let others know your plans and locations, this way if you lose your phone at least one person knows your whereabouts. Always have a charged phone for your own peace of mind.
- Stay around people – If you’re visiting a place on your own, it will put your mind at ease to be surrounded by others, even if you don’t yet know them. Use the Travamigos app to find others travelling to your destination, so you can visit places in a group.
- Public transport – Study a map or at least research your route before travelling – if you seem lost or confused you may be vulnerable to predatory behaviour. It’s also important to keep your bag secure, watch out for pickpockets who look for open and easily-accessible bags. If using an Uber, there is now the option to share your journey with friends or family to put your mind at ease.
- Accommodation – There’s masses of other female travellers out there – keep your eyes open and tag along with them, you could also look at female-only accommodation. Keep your door locked at all times and your valuables secure and hidden.
Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you’re unsure about something then don’t go ahead with it, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A personal memory that sticks with me is from a night at university, a group of guys were offering people drinks and it turned out they were spiked, they seemed dodgy and luckily my friends and I weren’t affected, but a few girls were… badly!
Dealing with homesickness
This may not apply to you; however, some travellers will miss home while they’re away – especially if it’s their first time travelling. Just know that what you’re feeling will pass and the excitement of new cultures will soon take over. Some cafés provide wifi access and so there’s nothing stopping you from checking in with home every now and then. I overcame this by keeping in mind that I was experiencing something amazing for myself, but also made sure to have the odd facetime with home when I could.
Respect the local laws and regulations
Every country is different in some way and it’s so important to respect the people and their cultures by researching before you head there. For example, some countries expect women to cover up so it is important you understand rules such as this and adapt to them before you arrive. In Sri-Lanka for example, it is culturally unacceptable to be showing too much skin. You need to be covered mostly from shoulder to toe. Ask around online if you’re not sure – someone will surely advise you.
Gaining from the experience
Travelling will change your life for the better, you’ll learn new things, meet new people and experience things you’ve never even of dreamt of. It’s a great way to improve your self- confidence and reliance. Once you’ve navigated your way round busy airports and train stations, explored the greatest temples in the world and met some of the greatest people you have in your life, future life challenges won’t seem so daunting.
It’s a great way to set an example for other girls like you that want to explore different cultures and countries and It will impact your life after travel – the employability skills that you will give you the edge over your competitors. Travelling will develop your time management skills, and interactions with others will strengthen your social, communication and employability skills. I am a much more confident and self-reassured person now after travelling, I have learnt so much along the way and can’t wait for you to feel the same!